Picking the Right Dog for Your Health & Lifestyle

children-and-dog2We are just beginning to understand the extent of the remarkable bond between dogs and humans. Adding a dog to your life can be a wonderful idea at any age, but it’s not a decision to take lightly. If you’re looking for a new dog for yourself or a family member, it’s important to take your time to find the right dog for your age, health, and lifestyle.

Here are a few tips for picking the right dog for your stage of life and activity level:

#1: A dog for an active family

If you’re an active family looking for a dog that can keep up with your high-energy lifestyle, your dog options are essentially limitless.

  • Check out your local rescue—they’re sure to have a fun-loving dog with the right temperament for your family.
  • A timid or senior dog may not be a good match if you fall into this category. Consider a puppy or young adult dog, and look for a dog that’s active and outgoing.
  • Some breeds or breed mixes that are known to do well as active family dogs include the Labrador Retriever, Golden Retriever, and the Beagle.
  • Contrary to popular belief, the American Pit Bull Terrier can make an excellent energetic family dog. They were once nicknamed “Nanny Dogs” as they can be especially gentle towards children.
  • Regardless of the breed or breed mix you choose, it is essential that you never leave a small child alone with ANY dog for an amount of time.

#2: A dog for a working person or couple

If you work long hours away from home, you may want to think twice before getting a dog. Many dogs don’t cope well with being left alone for long hours. If you’re determined to get a dog, there are a few ways you can make life better for you and your future dog.

  • I recommend adopting an adult dog that’s out of the puppy stage. You should be looking for a dog that’s already potty trained and has a relatively laid back personality.
  • Get in touch with a local rescue organization—they’ll be able to match you with a dog that can handle long hours alone.
  • Invest in a dog walker or pet-sitter. Doggie daycare is another option for highly social dogs. You’ll thank yourself at the end of the day when you come home to a tired, happy dog.
  • Remember that any dog is going to have an adjustment period when you first bring them home. An otherwise potty trained dog may have accidents while they adjust to your schedule.
  • Dogs can be a great stress reliever when you have an otherwise chaotic and busy life. Studies have shown that dogs may prevent heart disease and improve overall health.

#3: A dog for a senior citizen

A dog can be a wonderful companion for a senior citizen. Recent studies have shown that dogs can serve as early warning detectors of when a person’s health is declining, which can give loved ones peace of mind. If you’re looking for a dog for yourself or for a friend or family member, make sure you pick a suitable dog.

  • Many adoption centers have “Seniors for Seniors” programs where a senior citizen can adopt a senior animal for a reduced cost. See if there’s a program in your area.
  • A puppy or young adult dog is generally not a good idea for a senior citizen.senior-woman-hugs-golden
  • You’ll want to look for an older dog that has a calm temperament and that has already had some basic training.
  • Regardless of which dog you choose, it’s vital to have a friend or family member willing to care for the dog in the event that the dog’s owner passes away.

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